Shocked! A rabbi is offering key points and ideas on how to have a kosher style wedding reception. Yes, you read correctly. Why would a Rabbi offer such a guide on a kosher style wedding reception?
I wrote this article due to the fact I have heard from many couples admitting that forbidden foods according to Jewish law, as stated in one of the Five books of Moses; the Torah, were served during their wedding reception?
Disclaimer: this article is intended as a guide for informational purposes only.
Put the “Jewishness” back into the Jewish Wedding so that it reflects from the cocktail hour, and until the first dance to the last wedding reception dance”
Today, most couples hardly think about a kosher style wedding reception as an extension of their Jewish wedding ceremony. Often, the details are put into place to have the beautiful Chuppah, the flowers placed just right to decorate it. The Ketubah, a piece of art, as it should be. Afterwards, it is displayed proudly on the wall of the couples first home together for all to see and enjoy the beauty of its artistic expression. The wine cup’s silver shines reflecting the love of the wedding couple during the ceremony. The wedding ceremony booklet is put together with great thought and detail for each guest to use, learn about our traditions in a Jewish wedding ceremony and hopefully save as a keepsake. The Kippot (plural) color is picked and purchased to honor the ritual for all the men to wear since it is a Jewish wedding ceremony. It is often not explained that the wearing of a Kippah (one yarmulke) is to respect the almighty presence of God. Today, the many choices are quite fashionable and can match any color theme or personality. All of the above are good and the great thought into those details for the Jewish wedding ceremony should be just that.
Chuppah Wedding Canopy
For some reason the wedding reception falls short resembling a kosher style anything when the “Jewishness” is not incorporated. Granted, the Kiddush (blessing over the wine) and the Motzi (blessing over the Challah bread) is recited by a beloved family elder, but most often, that is where the “Jewishness” ends. Granted, the cost of a wedding reception is a huge factor in choosing the right caterer. The menu that is offered is based on what the caterer has organized for their business.
Whether it is the average wedding day reception or a more elaborate one, where is the “Jewishness”? Why not kosher, why not kosher style? Well, that is often reflected by the couple and their upbringing. Or the pressure a couple feels from their family members because it is a Jewish wedding. Actually, a kosher style wedding reception just may cost the same as a non-kosher style wedding reception? It all depends on the flexibility of the caterer you hire.
Kosher style is an alternative. How many couples do you know mention kosher style wedding reception menus? Grandma Tillie and Uncle Sol will enjoy this day even more when they see the foods presented before them as the traditions of our faith. A kosher style wedding reception is simple.
Kosher style does not make the food kosher or the kitchen where the food is cooked.
- Meat and dairy are not combined on the same plate for the guests to eat.
- The chef will not cook with cream sauces and place over the beef dish.
- A fish entrée is parve. Parve is neither dairy nor meat and therefore is a neutral dish.
- The kosher rules; allow anything that has fins and scales. It excludes lobster, shrimp, octopus etc. The caterer will probably offer salmon as a menu choice.
- All fruits and vegetables are kosher.
- Don’t forget the chopped liver, mini potato pancakes and any other delight you can recall that was prepared by family members for the Jewish holiday gatherings. Key point: Chefs are trained to make the simplest dish presented in an elegant way.The menu also needs to be looked over for the cocktail hour serving a variety of hor d’oeuvres. A kosher style wedding reception cocktail hour can easily be presented.Will the caterer be flexible honoring your requests? Will their chef cook without cream sauces spread over the pasta and meat dishes? These are part of the many questions you should ask when interviewing caterers? If cost is a factor, ask if there is a difference of a non-kosher wedding reception menu and a kosher style wedding reception menu. There should not be, since all you are asking is that the more costly foods are not to be served.Dessert
Waiting time frame? There are misconceptions on how long should a person wait to have a dairy dessert after eating a meat dish. There is a waiting period after having a meat dish because there are traces of tiny meat particles in-between teeth. This is a true and valid answer to the all important question, why wait?
How can it be solved at a wedding reception dinner?
Not all your guests will excuse themselves to floss, so what is the alternative? The answer is a “palate cleanser”. Palate cleansers are non-dairy, small serving of sorbet. Most caterers are quite familiar with palate cleansers. The sorbet can be served after the main entrée is served. There will always be a waiting period before the dessert is served. The palate cleansers will honor the “waiting time frame” ritual and keep your theme moving forward smoothly. You may opt to have a small card on each plate with sorbet explaining to your guests the reason for sorbet between the main meal and dessert.
How else can you incorporate “Jewishness” into your wedding reception?
The more creative you are, the more your guests will enjoy. Not to mention, having both of your personalities reflected in those creative add-ons at your reception. I knew a couple that named each of their tables with a positive Yiddish word or saying. They printed them on 5×7 color papers, phonetically, including the English translation underneath. They were framed using cardboard photo frames and were placed on each table. Instead of each guest’s table assignment card having a table number, it was a Yiddish Name.
With a little work, a little creativity and a flexible caterer, you can continue your Jewish wedding to the last dance.
After the wedding day
Try to incorporate the kosher style in your home and when you dine out. Avoid the cheese on that hamburger. Besides, from a healthy standpoint, that is doubling even tripling your portion size, calorie intake and do I need to mention the increase in the fat grams?
A little “Jewishness” will go a long way! Don’t do any of above because a rabbi wrote it, decide for yourselves, for your future generations and decide if the traditions of our faith should keep moving forward?